The economic challenges South Africa is facing is not Nelson Mandela’s fault but “our task” to solve.
Veteran ANC leader Reverend Frank Chikane defended the legacy of the former president on Thursday at the South African Local Government Association leadership conversations dedicated to honouring Nelson Mandela.
“When you google you realise that people have given themselves poetic license about Madiba. They have given themselves a licence to determine their expectations about Madiba, and measure him against their expectations rather than against what is and was,” he said.
Chikane recalled being 12 years old when Mandela went to jail and already an adult when Mandela was released.
“My generation, we did not expect him to come and liberate us but we understood that we had to liberate him and his comrades from prison. Our task was to liberate him; we didn’t expect him to liberate us.
“When Madiba came out of prison we forget he was about 70 years old. And we expect Madiba to come out of prison at 70 to liberate us? What type of nation are we, what type of people are we?”
He said when he worked in government during Mandela’s presidency he did not expect him to do everything.
“The economic challenges we are facing, if there is any failure, it is us who have failed – not Madiba. We must not give ourselves the poetic licence of judging him against something he would never do.”
Chikane thanked organisers for “honouring the legacy Nelson Mandela through inspiring thought leaders in this sphere of local governance” – which was the theme for the event.
He said Mandela’s legacy was one of sacrifice, selfless service, commitment to a cause, resilience and inspiration.
“We as South Africans lost that commitment to the thing we fought for. Everybody just comes and [does] what they need to do and you can cause damage as much as you can.”
He by criticising those he called “counter revolutionary.
“When you steal against the government you steal against the poor.”